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< Back to question Should the drinking age be 18? Show more Show less

The risks associated with drinking have led most countries to set a minimum legal age for the purchase or consumption of alcohol, but the specific drinking age varies from place to place. The most common drinking age around the world is 18, but the United States has a minimum legal drinking age of 21, and ages from 15 to 25 are used in other nations. Is 18 the ideal standard, or should the drinking age be 21? Should there be a minimum legal drinking age at all?

No, the drinking age should be 21. Show more Show less

Young adults are more vulnerable to the detrimental effects of alcohol and less equipped to make responsible choices about drinking. A higher drinking age prohibits people from drinking until they are mature enough to handle it.
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A higher drinking age reduces drunk driving

The single biggest danger associated with drinking is drunk driving, and less drunk driving happens when the drinking age is higher.
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The Argument

A higher drinking age saves lives by reducing traffic accidents and fatalities resulting from drunk driving. In the United States, where the national drinking age is 21, drunk driving deaths have decreased by a third since the drinking age was raised from 18. The higher drinking age is estimated to have saved over 1,000 lives per year on average through the reduction in drunk driving alone. Teen’s brains are still developing even at the age of eighteen. When under the influence, teens have trouble making decisions. In the United States, since 1984 when states began raising the drinking age from 18 to 21, there has been a decline in drinking traffic fatalities. It was even found that 58% of fewer alcohol-related crashes occurred when there was a higher drinking age. This suggests that the disincentive of breaking the law causes teens to think twice before getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.[1] Allowing people to mature for a few more years before being allowed to drink is greatly impactful on the number of people that could have been harmed or killed by drinking and driving accidents.

Counter arguments

With the invention of ride-sharing and ride-hailing apps, the number of drunk drivers has actually decreased in most cities. This is a form of transportation that is incredibly popular especially with the younger generation. This could mean that when going out, teenagers are less likely to drive, thus making the argument about reducing drunk driving an invalid point. Though ridesharing does seem to increase the amount of binge drinking that occurs in a night, as no one feels that they have a need to stay responsible enough to drive themselves home.[2] The United Kingdom has a drinking age of 18, yet alcohol only accounts for approximately 16 percent of fatal road deaths, wherein the United States accounts for about 31 percent.[3] This proves there is no correlation between the legal drinking age and drunk driving accidents so it is an invalid argument. Drinking and driving depend on the responsibility of the driver, not their age.


[P1] A higher drinking age has been statistically been shown to decrease drunk driving rates. [P2] The drinking age should not be 18, as doing so will actively cause more deaths.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The United Kingdom's lower drinking age and number of alcohol-related road fatalities contradict this.




This page was last edited on Wednesday, 1 Jul 2020 at 20:10 UTC


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